The Weekly News Bulletin of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)(Liberation)
U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi 110092. Tel: (91)11-22521067. Fax(91)11-22518248
In this Issue
Communal Flare-up in Jammu and Kashmir
The communally and politically motivated decision of the Congress-PDP Government of Jammu and Kashmir to transfer forest land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) is having costly repercussions in the State, with the added danger that it may emerge as a communal agenda nationally. The land transfer, taken in the context of irresponsible official remarks recommending changes in the demography and “culture” of the region as a “solution” to the Kashmir “problem”, was like a spark to the tinder-box of pent-up resentment in the Valley. Lives were lost in police firing on the protestors; the PDP tried to distance itself from its Ministers’ decision in favour of the land transfer by pulling out of the Government; and the Government was belatedly forced to roll back the land transfer decision.
The BJP and Sangh Parivar’s declaration to mobilize Hindus “nationally” against the revocation of the land transfer stoked the resentment in Jammu: resentment that stemmed from accumulated anger against the systematic neglect of the region’s aspirations but has been given a communal colouration by the RSS-BJP. The Congress Government also contributed to communalization of the issue, with statements that the protests against the land transfer had been funded by Islamic countries. The resulting flare-up has continued for several weeks; Jammu has witnessed communal violence against its Muslim residents; curfew has been imposed in four of the eight districts of Jammu; Srinagar has been under siege; Kashmir Valley has been blockaded, requiring army deployment to ensure supply of essential commodities. With fruit growers hit by the blockade, protests escalated again in the Valley, met again with police firing which claimed 6 lives including that of a senior Hurriyat leader Abdul Aziz. The unrest in the Valley escalated; further firing by police and paramilitary on Aziz’s angry supporters claimed 12 more lives all over the Valley; and indefinite curfew has been imposed all over the Valley for the first time since 1990.
The BJP’s top leadership is continuing to fan up communal flames over the episode, projecting the revocation of the land transfer as an injustice to the Amarnath Yatra pilgrims. The facts fly in the face of such propaganda. The use of the aforesaid land for hospitality for the yatris was never opposed in Kashmir; in fact Muslims local residents had unfailingly provided all sorts of services and assistance to them year after year. The High Court order of 2005 directing the State Government to erect temporary structures to provide for the yatris during the two-month pilgrimage period was never opposed by anyone; only the move to transfer the land from the aegis of the Government to that of the Shrine Board, implying that the Shrine Board could then erect permanent structures on the land and prevent local residents from using the land when the pilgrimage was not on, was opposed. Further cause for concern was that the huge unregulated inflow of lakhs of pilgrims was endangering the fragile local ecosystem; while there is a limit set to the number of pilgrims to Gangotri or Gomukh, there is none for Amarnath. Another crucial factor was that the pilgrimage itself had been projected by the Central and State Governments as a ‘patriotic’ enterprise – this officially sponsored identification of a Hindu pilgrimage with ‘patriotism’ was fraught with communal overtones and set the stage for deep suspicion of any handover of resources to the Shrine Board.
The deep-seated sense of neglect in Jammu and alienation in Kashmir have not been addressed by successive Governments and political forces. Instead communal polarization is being sharpened by political forces who are trying to project the alienation of the Jammu residents as having a Hindu and therefore ‘nationalist’ character (protests being organized with the tricolor in hand) while the alienation of the people of Kashmir is being portrayed as ‘Muslim’, ‘anti-national’ and specifically, ‘Pakistani’. The BJP’s all-out communal build-up has received fodder from the opportunisms of the Congress and PDP. The National Conference, despite Omar Abdullah’s brave declarations of secularism in Parliament, has done its share to promote the BJP’s communal agenda in the State. All in all, the political forces in the State seem all set to push the situation dangerously towards the trifurcation of the State on communal lines – an agenda openly avowed by the BJP in the past and proposed by various think-tanks of the United States of America like the Kashmir Study Group.
The spate of indiscriminate firing by police and paramilitary forces on protestors in Kashmir smacks of the Indian State’s habitual repressive and callous chauvinism. The solution to the present impasse could be sought in upholding the High Court Order of 2005 which had stipulated that “The land to be allotted by the Board would be only for the purposes of user and would remain limited for the duration of yatra. The Board shall also identify the sites to be allotted for the purpose of langar, erection of detachable/prefabricated huts and toilets, etc, that would not be permanent in nature and are liable to be removed after the period of yatra is over.” But politically motivated forces are eager to block such a solution, seeking to reap a communal harvest from the situation towards the next elections. Even if such a solution is eventually reached, the sores left by the entire episode on the polity in J&K are not likely to heal easily. The Congress-led State Government and the UPA Government at the Centre are squarely to blame for having handed the BJP a communally potent agenda on a platter, in the process doing far-reaching harm to the sensitive region of Jammu and Kashmir.
Obituary : Comrade Harkishan Singh Surjeet
CPI(ML) condoles the passing of Comrade Harkishan Singh Surjeet, veteran communist leader and former CPI(M) General Secretary, on 1 August 2008. The CPI(ML) conveyed condolences to the CPI(M) and to Comrade Surjeet’s family.
Legendary poet Mahmoud Darwish, known and loved as Palestine’s nation poet and voice of the Palestinian people, passed away on 9 August. Darwish will be remembered by all those who love freedom and hate occupation and slavery, as a clarion voice of the pain and passion of the Palestinian liberation struggle.
CPI(ML) Activists Court Arrest in Kolkata Against Nuclear Deal
As part of the Central Committee's 'jail bharo' call in protest against the Indo-US nuclear deal, price rise and attempts to curb workers’ rights and to demand rights for workers of the unorganized sector, the Kolkata District Committee organized a 'jail bharo' program on the 9th of August. A procession of about a hundred people started from Subodh Mullick Square. It was led by CC members Comrades. Kalyan Goshwami and Arindam Sen. But the procession was soon stopped by the police on the pretext that there were other political programs in the vicinity. Thereafter a standoff between the agitators and the police followed and the agitators courted arrest. Construction workers from North Kolkata, rickshaw pullers from South Kolkata and students vigorously took part in the agitation.
Coimbatore Workers Prepare for 20 August General Strike
In Coimbatore, on August 9 ‘Quit India’ day, Pricol workers organized a convention as a part of preparation toward the All India General Strike. Before addressing the convention, Com. Kalpana Wilson of South Asia Solidarity Group (SASG, an Organisation based in London), held a discussion session with the women workers of Pricol. She highlighted their resolve never to go back to darkness and slavery from the light and freedom they have gained through their hard and long struggle.
Com.Kumarasami, called upon the workers, to link up their struggle against their employer Vijay Mohan with the struggle against the pro-US, anti-people Manmohan Singh Govt. and make the August 20 strike a grand success, even if they have to face the 8-days wage cut. Com. Dipankar hailed their heroic struggle and called upon them to carry it forward and raise it to the political arena. He compared the histories of China and India and pointed out that the main difference was revolutionary transformation led by the communist party in organizing and leading the workers and the toiling peasantry. Com.Dipankar pointed out the seemingly weak Cuba and Vietnam, delivering crucial blows to the seemingly strong US. He also pointed out the seemingly big parties, like Congress and its leaders like Indira Gandhi in the 1970s, and the NDA which claimed that India was shining, suffered huge blows at the hands of the Indian masses. He pointed out that the social democratic Left was serving capitalist development more, than serving the working people of Country. He called upon the workers to radicalize the communist movement by making their imprints on the national political situation. They hoisted the Party flag in two new Party branches earlier.
Efforts to Intensify the Struggle for Land in Jharkhand
In Obra block of Garhwa Dist. in Jharkhand mass meetings are being organised in various blocks and villages to intensify and give an organised shape and form to the developing struggles for land with the help of the enthusiasm and energy generated by the Obra march by five thousand strong people after a brutal police assault of 13th July. Meetings took place in Hasandag of Dhurki Block and Korga of Ramuna. In Putur village under Dhurki the downtrodden are once again unitedly challenging feudal dominance over the hundreds of acres of gair mazarua village land. At the meeting held here it was declared that such stretches of land which is still under illegal control of local musclemen would be captured and distributed among the poor. The people are enthused by these initiatives and hundreds of villagers participated in the meeting. To get the task done it was decided that soon the masses will take on the land with their bullocks and ploughs. For the record the struggle is going on for last ten years and only a small part of such land has been liberated from feudal control and a large tract is still under the control of village strongmen and feudal elements. In Dusaiya village of the same block landlords control more than 300 acres of gair mazarua land and even hundreds of acres of forest land has been grabbed by them. When a meeting of around thousand people was on to free this land the landlord tried to force his authority by ploughing the land but the villagers managed to chase him away and have decided to take cultivation on this land under their control.
Reports from Jharkhand
CPI(ML) Interventions in Koderma on the Issue of NREGA, PDS and Women’s Oppression
A NREGA labourer Mahendra Turi of Masmohana village of Markacho block in Koderma Dist. died due to acute shortage of livelihood means on 26th July after making endless rounds of the Block office to get the money released for which he had spent enormous amount of his labour. He had been allotted work for a well under NREGA and despite most of the labour done by him he was paid very less and on top of it a significant part of it was taken as a commission (bribe) by the officials. CPI(ML) held the officials responsible for his death and organised a protest march in Markachho demanding action against those officials and providing the deceased’s family a government job and compensation for the family.
A Dalit woman was raped on 25th July by a jawan of Jharkhand Military Police Prakash Sao who is also a village strongman. When the victim’s husband returned from work he protested this assault he too was beaten up. CPI(ML) and AIPWA organised a protest march comprising hundreds of angry people in Koderma to demand immediate arresting of the rapist policeman. To ensure justice the Party has launched series of protest programmes and currently central executive member of Jharmand Mazdoor Samiti (JHAMAS) is on indefinite hunger strike since 7th August.
On 6th August people under the leadership of CPI(ML) confiscated 150 sacks of rice meant for Antodaya beneficiaries from the strangleholds of black-marketeers in Domchanch of Koderma. Party had been complaining about the large scale diversion of food grains meant for distributing to poor people under PDS and other schemes. Having waited long for some action by the administration to control the situation and act against black-marketeers CPI(ML) decided to act on its own to stop this blatant violation of legal rights of poor people. Under the leadership of Comrades Ramdhan Yadav and Baban Yadav the sacks were confiscated and handed over to administration and pressure was put upon the latter to act against these black-marketeers. It was under this pressure that the SDO filed a case against the black-marketeers and the vehicle owners.
Membership drive of JHAMAS, a constituent of All India Agricultural Labourers’ Association (AIALA), is underway in whole Jharkhand and about one lakh rural poor have taken the membership. JHAMAS executive committee has in its meeting held on 1st August decided to conduct intensive membership campaign from 25 Aug to 15 September with a target to take the membership number to seven lakhs. Other decisions werealso taken including agricultural-rural strike on demands like making available fertiliser-seeds-pesticides, proper irrigation facilities, declaring Palamu a drought affected region and distributing land under control of strongmen among rural poor.
200 CPI(M) Members Join CPI(ML) in Supaul District
AIALA’s first Supaul Dist. Conference was held in Com. Ajit Sarkar Hall in Com. Sudhay Rai Nagar (Trivenigunj) on 25 July in an atmosphere of full enthusiasm. 200 delegates from the Dist. participated in the Conference. The delegates discussed and debated on various issues of the Dist. This Dist. is perennially inundated by flooding from Kosi river and most of the Districts’s youth leave the Dist for other places. Earlier only the males used to migrate but now even the young girsl and women are migrating in search of work. The people of this Dist. face severe feudal oppression and incidents of rape by goons of feudal lords has become a common feature. After the Conference a mass meeting was held in the Kali Mandir grounds in which more than 2500 people participated and took a resolve to end the reign of oppression, rapes and all injustice meted to poor people. The Conference alos elected a 21-member District Committee.
Another highlight of the Conference was taking CPI(ML)’s membership by 200 members of CPI(M), including its 6 members of Dist. Committee and Com. Achhelal Mehta, CPI(M)’s Dist. Secretary of Kisan Cell. These comrades accused CPI(M)’s Dist. leadership of betraying the poor people and their struggles and infact helping the zamindars to put down the struggles against them. They also exposed the CPI(M) District leadership’s activities during the Zila Parishad and Panchayat elections to defeat CPI(M)’s own candidates and they also erected a temple on the land of CPI(M) Party office. They also backstabbed the people in struggle against the black-marketeers Janardan Chaudhary and Arun Aggarwal and in struggles for land took the side of feudal lords.
These comrades have worked very enthusiastically since their joining CPI(ML) and have made ten thousand members of AIALA.
Bihar Assembly will Not be Allowed to Function if it's not for the Issues of Poor People
Bihar Legislative Assembly’s monsoon session began on 24th July and ended on 30th July but in reality the Assembly was convened only on four days. Same thing happened in 2006 as well as 2007. Media has focused mainly on the chaos reigning for even those four days and not on why the session itself was so short. There are urgent burning issues facing the tens millions of people of Bihar for which intense debates in the Assembly was required but the Nitish Kumar Govt. did not bother to do so and simply accused the opposition for not letting the sessions progress.
CPI(ML)’s five members of the Assembly had decided to raise all the important issues facing the masses during the Assembly session but the challenge before them was which issues to raise for attention of the Government and the State and which issues to leave as there are so many issues and difficulties thrust on the people by the anti-people Nitish Government. In NREGA there is wide and deep running corruption, agricultural labourers had to be assisted in getting their accounts opened in banks and post offices but this has hardly happened, very few women labourers have been provided job cards, migration from State has increased and incidences of malnutrition and hunger related deaths are increasing, also increasing is the attacks on the weaker sections and poor people – to the extent that a SDO ran his jeep and mauled agricultural labourers under his jeep, people protesting for supplying electricity were fired upon, there were big promises made by the Govt. for resolving and hence there was need to present progress report in this promise in the current session, there is a mass struggle and protest going on in Samastipur against the theft of even emergency power supply by the Police, Administration and Judiciary and the protests are being severely repressed, flood control projects are victims of shameful loot, whole of Bihar is at a standstill due to water logging caused by unprecedented rains and there are lots of unfulfilled promises by the Govt. regarding this, there is the issue of deliberately holding back the recommendations of the Bandhopadhya Commision and there are significant issues regarding education, health etc. But during the entire monsoon session the Nitish Govt. did not even consider any of these issues worth deliberating on. When our team of Legislative members tried to bring up the issue of massive irregularity in the BPL lists Mr. Nitish Kumar brushed aside the important issue by saying Assembly has already discussed it in the past.
Our five members tried for holding debates on atleast four crucial issues – for finding new ways for effective and true BPL lists, doubling the wage under NREGA, action against the SDO who mauled labourers under his jeep, and asking Nitish Kumar to fulfill his own promise of alotting 10 decimal of cultivable land cum 4 decimal of homestead land and laying of the connective paths. The Party MLA’s also tried to present a attention motion on five important points – repression of protests for power supply in Samastipur, punishing the contractor(s) responsible for wiping off of many villages due to the land erosion in Bhagalpur, PACS (poorest areas civil society programme) scam in Begusarai, depriving and precenting the traditional fisherfolk from fishing in West Champaran, and not providing any compensation making excuses to the family of dalit victims of Chamarpura boat accident in Bhojpur Dist. But the Govt. was not interested with any of these issues, and its single point agenda was only to anyhow pass the supplementary budget to meet its rising expenditures and arranging increased incomes for its agents, otherwise otherwise if it was serious it would have had to convene atleast a month’s session as per legal provisions and given all its MLA’s to put their views and opinions.
Women Protest in East Delhi for BPL Cards
Women from the slum clusters in Kalyanpuri (E Delhi) held a militant demonstration under the banner of AIPWA and CPI(ML) at the local FSO (Food Supply Officer’s) office, incensed at the fact that despite having submitted their BPL cards for renewal up to 9 months ago, fresh cards have not been issued. Some women have got APL cards issued in place of BPL cards. To add insult to injury, the authorities at the FSO office deal rudely and contemptuously with women who come to ask about the fate of their cards. The protest on 11 August was led by local activists Madhunisha and Rekha and local committee secretary Shyam Kishor Yadav, as well as Delhi State Secretary Sanjay Sharma, and AIPWA leaders Uma Gupta and Kavita Krishnan. The demonstration continued until the FSO was forced to come out and address the demonstrators, assuring that cards would be reissued soon; wrongly-issued APL cards would be replaced by BPL cards; and those who came for their cards would be respectfully dealt with. The women are determined to hold further protests if these assurances are not backed up in practice.
Protest for Voter I-Cards in Noida
A Protest was held by the Party’s local unit in Noida on 12 August in front of City Magistrate to demand inclusion of thousands of workers and poor slum dwellers into the voters list. Most of them are migrant workers settled here for more than ten years, but deprived of their basic democratic and voting rights for the reason that being poor and property-less they don’t possess any proof of residence to prove their citizenship to the Administration. The protest was led by local committee secretary Nand ji, State Committee member VKS Gautam and comrade Ramesh.
Workers’ Victory After a long Strike
A section of one of the highly unorganised workers, and highly exploited too, gained victory after a long struggle when thousands of workers engaged in extracting almond nuts on a piece-rate basis successfully negotiated with the employers to raise the wage by Rs.10 per bag which was earlier Rs.40 per bag. These workers, in Karawal Nagar area of Delhi, started agitation last year when Party and AICCTU intervened and fought for their basic rights and employment. Still the struggle needs to be continued and intensified as the current wage, even after the increase, is far below the prescribed minimum wage and they, particularly the women workers, face various kinds of oppression. The agitation was led by Party State Committee member VKS Gautam along with other local comrades.
AISA’s Student Assembly Against Nitish Govt.’s Callous Attitude to Education
There is a total impasse on academic processes in all the universities of Bihar due to Nitish Govt.’s ignoring the just demands of universities’ employees. Even in the monsoon session of Bihar Assembly no attention was given at all on this crucial issue to break the current deadlock. Against this shameful silence by the State Govt. on the issue related with the futures of so many students, the All India Students’ Association (AISA) organised a Students’ Assembly at the main gates of Patna University on 4th Aughust to give a radical direction to the students’ resentments. The Assembly exposed Nitish Kumar’s much publicised education model which is in reality contractualisation of primary education and privatisation of higher education leading to ouster of most students hailing from economically poorer backgrounds. About 50 percent teaching and non-teaching posts are lying vacant in the universities, and all along big but hollow promises were made about implementing academic calendars. What Nitish’s educational reforms have done is demolish the educational processes of Government institutes and open the way for private players to set up educational shops. AISA declared that it would intensify struggles against the Nitish Govt. if it does not concede to the just demands of the striking employees and resume the academic processes in the campuses.
Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22518248, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.cpiml.org
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